Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dear Mr. Luther . . .

I recently heard about an online petition written by someone who has grievances with a particular church.  Among other things, the petitioner wants the leadership of that church to resign.

I don't know if the petitioner is a member of that church or not.  Maybe they are, maybe they are not. Maybe they have presented their grievances to the leadership and felt like they didn't get a fair hearing.  Maybe they're an outsider who is honestly concerned about the actions of this church. Maybe they're someone who just wants to stir up trouble.

What I found interesting was the name on the petition.  I don't know if it was the name of the petitioner or the name of one of the signatories.

The name on the petition?

Martin Luther.

Yep, THAT Martin Luther.  In other words, the person used a pseudonym in posting/signing that petition.

I'm using the remainder of this post to directly address the person:

Dear Mr. Luther:

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517, he was calling for a public debate on the issues about which he was concerned.  He signed his name to those theses.  The people that received them and read them knew who was behind those writings.

Luther knew that by placing his name on those writings, he was risking excommunication from the church and could possibly be executed as a heretic.  He was willing to do so.

You, on the other hand, have chosen--for whatever reason--to remain anonymous.  While you have used the modern version of the door of the Wittenburg Church--the Internet--to post your "theses", you have decided to hide behind the use of a pseudonym.

Your concerns may well be justified.  But if you are so concerned with the practices of the church you're criticizing, then at least have the courage to attach your real name to the petition you have posted.

Martin Luther, your namesake, went public with his concerns.  He risked a great deal by associating his name with writings that were controversial, to say the least.

It speaks volumes to his character that he was willing to sign his name to his concerns.

It speaks volumes to your character that you are not willing to do the same.

Sincerely yours,

Tina A. Seward

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

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